Aust shares edge higher
Market watch top headlines
SYDNEY, Jan 30 AAP
January 30 2013, 10:40AM
Gains by major resources companies have led the Australian share market slightly higher, extending nine days of gains.
At 1026 AEDT on Wednesday, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 4.1 points, or 0.08 per cent, at 4,893.1 and the broader All Ordinaries index was up 4.8 points, or 0.1 per cent, at 4,915.6.
On the ASX 24, the March share price index futures contract was three points higher at 4,857 with 9,090 contracts traded.
The market is at a 21-month high and on the verge of its longest winning streak for a decade.
But Burrell Stockbroking director Richard Herring said investors appeared to be taking a breather after recent strong gains.
"There's been a bit of profit taking in the banks after a stellar day yesterday across the sector," he said.
"It's a pretty steady performance all things being considered.
"Yesterday was a very strong day, but these things are never linear and there'll always be little hiccups."
BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto were among the best performers after a rise in commodity prices overnight, with BHP up 39 cents at $37.56 and Rio up 67 cents at $66.82.
Among the banks, Westpac was down 15.5 cents at $28.065, Commonwealth had lost 31.5 cents to $64.415, National Australia Bank was down four cents at $27.68 and ANZ was two cents lower at $26.49.
Insurance stocks were recovering from heavy falls on Tuesday, with Suncorp shares up 19 cents, or 1.8 per cent, at $10.89 and QBE was 26 cents higher, up 2.3 per cent, at $11.54.
Insurance Australia Group was up three cents at $4.96.
Making news, Wesfarmers has lifted sales in all its retail businesses in the first half of the financial year, with the strongest growth coming from Coles and Bunnings.
Wesfarmers shares were down 50 cents at $38.32, while rival Woolworths was down 11 cents at $31.76.
"Wesfarmers' numbers looked very solid, but it's a stock that has added about $3 in the last few weeks so it may be a time for pausing and catching a breath," Mr Burrell said.
National turnover at 1034 AEDT was 445.6 million shares worth $544.2 million.